The Filter

One piece of no-nonsense analysis that examines an important development in the consumer ecosystem, which you can read in five minutes or less.

The difference between Brand and The Brand, and why neither are defensible


“The brand is defensible” is a phrase increasingly muttered across the consumer landscape. The challenge with a statement like this is that “brand” usually lacks a definition, further perpetuating an important misunderstanding: people are mixing up Brand with The Brand.

The uncertain road from a single product to lasting brand


A single-product company that desires to become a brand needs to diversify its products over time to maintain interest and evolve with the market. But few single-product based companies have been able to build lasting brands with a wide assortment of product categories.

Facebook is the ultimate middleman. Will brands cut it out?


“Cutting out the middleman” is a phrase thrown around endlessly across the consumer industry, often without much thought. Particularly catalyzed by the direct-to-consumer and digitally-native brand boom, the concept transformed from a boring technical term into a buzzword that defined the…

The Grinds

Quick, to-the-point analysis of five important news stories from the week, contextualized through two lenses: 1) Why is it interesting? and 2) Why does it matter?

The Grinds: Outdoor Voices calls out copycats, Amazon raises seller fees, Starbucks mobile ordering grows, Fake products slip past The RealReal, IKEA partners with TaskRabbit


Fans of Outdoor Voices call out brands for copying its products, proving more powerful than non-existent legal protections To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Outdoor Voices (OV) was the first brand to popularize its…

The Grinds: Amazon Go opens, Richemont buys Yoox Net-a-Porter, Young people prefer online shopping, Bankrupt retailers get rent concessions, Target unveils unique fragrance


Richemont buys Yoox Net-a-Porter, becoming the first major luxury holding company with a serious ecommerce operation To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   Why it’s interesting Richemont’s purchase caps quite a journey…

The Grinds: Beauty Pie’s pricing strategy, Amazon’s aesthetic, Target’s holiday sales, Amazon’s beauty business, Aural advertising increases


Beauty Pie, the membership-based beauty retailer sees success with its unconventional pricing strategy To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   Why it’s interesting Beauty Pie was started as a cross between Netflix and Everlane.…